Hurtling through cells like a spaceship zooming past the stars, this video takes you on a journey through a mouse’s brain. Interactive explorations like this provide valuable information about how various diseases take hold in the brain, but have always taken weeks to produce. A new technique, however, produced this visualisation in just a few hours. The aptly-named ‘FAST’ (block-face serial microscopy tomography) method automatically slices the brain into micro-layers, then processes the segments, producing images so detailed that individual cells, and their contents, can be seen. Dramatically reducing the time taken to process samples means multiple brains can be compared together, allowing a new avenue of investigation for researchers. The technique has already been scaled up and tested on human samples, raising hopes that it’ll soon be used to identify precise physical abnormalities in diseased brains, and ultimately lead to new treatments.
Written by Anthony Lewis
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.